Vaccines: Good or Bad for your Health?

310px-Poster_for_vaccination_against_smallpoxPeople tend to have extreme positions when it comes to vaccines. Some believe they are crucial life saving medicine while others think they do more harm than good and are effectively poisons. Then there are the New World Order conspiracy theorists, but we won’t go there (will we, commenters?). Amy Parker writes about her vaccine-free childhood and how she was always sick, contrasting it to her own vaccinated children who are almost never ill, at Slate:

I am the ’70s child of a health nut. I wasn’t vaccinated. I was brought up on an incredibly healthy diet: no sugar till I was 1, breastfed for over a year, organic homegrown vegetables, raw milk, no MSG, no additives, no aspartame. My mother used homeopathy, aromatherapy, osteopathy; we took daily supplements of vitamin C, echinacea, cod liver oil.

I had an outdoor lifestyle; I grew up next to a farm in England’s Lake District, walked everywhere, did sports and danced twice a week, drank plenty of water. I wasn’t even allowed pop; even my fresh juice was watered down to protect my teeth, and I would’ve killed for white, shop-bought bread in my lunchbox once in a while and biscuits instead of fruit, like all the other kids.

We ate (organic local) meat maybe once or twice a week, and my mother and father cooked everything from scratch—I have yet to taste a Findus crispy pancake, and oven chips (“fries,” to Americans) were reserved for those nights when Mum and Dad had friends over and we got a “treat.”

As healthy as my lifestyle seemed, I contracted measles, mumps, rubella, a type of viral meningitis, scarlatina, whooping cough, yearly tonsillitis, and chickenpox. In my 20s I got precancerous HPV and spent six months of my life wondering how I was going to tell my two children under the age of 7 that Mummy might have cancer before it was safely removed.

So the anti-vaccine advocates’ fears of having the “natural immunity sterilized out of us” just doesn’t cut it for me. How could I, with my idyllic childhood and my amazing health food, get so freaking ill all the time?

My mother would have put most of my current “crunchy” friends to shame. She didn’t drink, she didn’t smoke, she didn’t do drugs, and we certainly weren’t allowed to watch whatever we wanted on telly or wear plastic shoes or any of that stuff. She livedalternative health. And you know what? I’m glad she gave us such a great diet. I’m glad that she cared about us in that way.

But it just didn’t stop me getting childhood illnesses.

My kids have had no childhood illnesses other than chickenpox, which they both contracted while still breastfeeding. They, too, grew up on a healthy diet, homegrown organics, etc. I was not quite as strict as my mother, but they are both healthier than I have ever been…

[continues at Slate]

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  • American Cannibal

    Who. The. Fuck. Knows.

    We’re all gonna die!! NWO! NWO! NWO!

  • Usagi Nakamura

    I never take vaccines or medications of any kind. I eat with utter disregard for how healthy or nutritious the food is that I consume. I never work out, I sit at a desk for 8 hours at work and the entire time I’m at home (except when sleeping, usually..) and I haven’t been ill even once in the past two decades, not even a cold.
    I live like a slob! Which is actually really good for the immune system.

    I think vaccines can be great but not everyone needs them, it really depends upon the individual. I cannot personally see how they’d be harmful though.

  • Yūgen

    Yay lets talk about our personal life as if it can be generalized onto the entire population.

    • lunasea

      Science!

  • BuzzCoastin

    a regression to the mean in this case

    a sampling of one does not a study make

  • gustave courbet

    I rarely hear my stance on vaccines elocuted so I’ll add my 2 cents. The science of vaccination seems to be well understood and potentially safe and effective, but it seems naive to trust an industry that is so profitable while having so little accountability. Knowing what we do about the trustworthiness of the FDA and EPA in regulating the invisible chemical fabric of our daily lives, I think some cynicism is in order. I recommend research, caution, and late-adoption when taking any drug, much less anything with live viruses in it.

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